What Should You Wear to a Routine Mammogram?
Mammograms help save lives, but anyone who's had one knows that they can be uncomfortable, yet they're essential to making sure your breasts stay healthy throughout your life. Knowing what to wear to a routine mammogram appointment can help ease your stress and make your appointment go more smoothly.
Why are mammograms important?
A mammogram is an X-ray exam of breast tissue that can detect changes. Abnormal changes in breast tissue may indicate breast cancer or other underlying medical conditions. Although it's possible to feel changes in breast tissue during a physical exam, mammograms can detect deeper changes within the tissue.
It's suggested that women start getting mammograms once per year starting at age 40, or once per year starting at age 30 if they have a family history of breast cancer.
According to BreastCancer.org, women who find out they have breast cancer sooner rather than later can reduce their risk of dying from it by 25 to 30 percent, and mammograms can find lumps up to two or three years before a doctor can feel them in a physical exam. It's suggested that women start getting mammograms once per year starting at age 40, or once per year starting at age 30 if they have a family history of breast cancer.
What to expect during a mammogram
During a mammogram, each breast is placed in between an X-ray plate and a plastic plate, and then the two plates compress each breast to spread out the breast tissue. It's normal to feel slight discomfort in the form of pinching, squeezing or pressure while your breasts are compressed, but this discomfort won't last long. The average mammogram test only takes about 20 minutes.
Women who have breast implants should still get routine mammograms to monitor the health of their breasts. Even though breast implants can make it difficult for the X-ray machine to see all of the breast tissue, radiologists will be skilled enough to work through this by taking extra pictures or by manually and gently lifting breast tissue away from implants to get a better image. If you have implants, be sure to let your radiologist know so they can get the best possible images of your breast tissue.
What to wear to a routine mammogram
Wearing the right clothes to your routine mammogram appointment will make your appointment go by faster and feel less stressful. You'll have to take your bra and shirt off for your mammogram, so it's best to wear jeans, shorts or a skirt and a top instead of a dress so you'll be able to remain halfway clothed. Even though you'll be given a gown to wear, you might feel more comfortable if you’re wearing your favorite pair of blue jeans.
Wearing something comfortable as a top that's easy to take off will make undressing for your mammogram much easier. If you're in the changing room struggling to get a tight top and sports bra off, this can add to any stress you may already be feeling. Think loose-fitting shirts, oversize sweaters and easy-to-take-off bras or bralettes.
If you're someone who wears a lot of jewelry, it may be a good idea to leave your jewelry at home or take it off right before your appointment. Rings and earrings are okay, but your radiologist will probably ask you to remove any necklaces you might be wearing. If you don't want to worry about losing jewelry during your appointment, you can always go without jewelry for the day.
It's important that you avoid wearing antiperspirant or deodorant to your appointment, because sometimes they can interfere with your test results by showing up on the X-ray film.
It's also important that you avoid wearing antiperspirant or deodorant to your appointment, because sometimes they can interfere with your test results by showing up on the X-ray film. If you're worried about your body odor during your appointment, you might try showering beforehand or wiping your underarms with baby wipes before going in. It may be helpful to remember that radiologists who do mammograms know that you won't be coming in with deodorant or perfume on. They're used to this and it's completely normal and natural. If you have somewhere to go after your appointment, you can take your deodorant with you and apply it after your mammogram is over.
Now that you know what to wear during a mammogram, hopefully you'll feel more empowered to get one every year, so you can stay as healthy as possible.